Doing the laundry is a simple, straightforward task for most people and families. Dirty clothes go in with a little detergent, wet clothes come out, and then wet clothes go in the drier. Done. However, have you actually thought about the chemicals and ingredients contained in most laundry detergents? Have you put thought to their possible effect on your health and your family’s health?
Laundry Detergents are used to take away grease, grime, germs, and stains from clothes or other fabrics. However, regular-brand, mainstream detergents also leave something behind. Careful! We breathe their fumes and absorb their residues through our skin, and in some cases this may result in diseases and allergic reactions. The least we could do is learn some quick, dirty facts about regular laundry detergent. We hope these will convince you to finally go green!
Surfactants cause skin irritation. If you take a close look at the warning label on your favorite laundry detergent, you’ll notice that it urges you to avoid direct skin contact. That’s because, since detergents work by removing oils from clothes, that includes the natural oils produced by your own skin. Among other uses, our natural oils are necessary for protection against microbes. Rashes are extremely common when people come into direct contact with detergents and people with sensitive skin might even break out when wearing clothes washed by these detergents. So if you’re constantly battling with skin irritation and don’t really know why, try switching laundry detergents. You might be surprised!
Manufacturers are not obligated by US laws to include their ingredients on the label. No matter how hard and deep you look through your detergent’s label, you might never find any ingredients listed! Be careful with mainstream brands and research on any ingredients that you might find on any given bottle before making the decision on which type of detergent is best.
They leave chemical residue on your clothes. Studies have shown that after just 10 washes clothes have as much leftover chemicals as a full scoop of detergent.
Brighteners do not clean. They simply add a film of chemical residue on clothing to make whites ‘appear’ brighter. These often contain benzene – a known carcinogen. They also irritate the skin because they are specifically designed to not rinse away.
They are bad for the environment. After washing your clothes, the residual detergent goes down the drain and into the waters and soils of our environment. The effect of laundry detergent on the environment is undeniable, and it’s only within the last few years that we are seeing the toll it’s taking on animal and plant life. Most detergents that run into water negatively affect aquatic life. In fact, phosphates that make their way into the water can increase the growth of toxin-producing algae which can kill plants, fish, dolphins, and other sea creatures.
You only actually need a little bit. Remember that to get your clothes clean without affecting your washer, you only need a small quantity of detergent. Or better yet, opt for premeasured laundry detergent pods. If you put too much detergent into the wash, residue will remain on your clothes. This residue is what leads to skin irritation, rashes, endocrine disruption, and possible respiratory distress.
So what are you supposed to do with those mounds of dirty laundry? Well, there are many different alternatives to regular mainstream brands. Some use less soap. Others make their own laundry detergents with simple ingredients. We recommend that you start looking into natural brands, unscented preferred. Observe their ingredients and chemicals. Think specifically about your family’s needs (sensitive skin, baby clothes, gentle clothes). We hope that this facts definitely influence your decision when buying a new detergent and that it directs you towards the natural, green brands. Especially those that actually work. ;)